Tournaments : : Story
Monday, October 17, 2011

GameChanger and the PG Scout Blogs

David Rawnsley        
Scouts, coaches and fans who have been attending Perfect Game tournaments over the years probably didn’t even notice them anymore, the big, bulky blue binders that held the oversized PG-designed score sheets that were ubiquitous at every field. PG score keepers used them for both keeping score and “book” and for taking volumes of notes on individual players, notes that later would be laboriously entered into the PG data base.

You won’t see those bulky blue score books in Jupiter, though. In fact, if you’ve been watching, you haven’t seen them at a WWBA or BCS tournament all summer and fall.

Pitching, Defense Boast Longshots over Dogs
10/9/2011 5:20:24 AM

Longshots Baseball Teal used solid pitching and defense to pull away from the Tallahassee Dogs 5-1 Saturday.

RHP Zach Burdi (2013, Downers Grove South HS, IL) threw the first 4 innings for Longshots, sitting in the 83-86 mph range on his fastball to go with a 75 mph slider.  The 6-3/180 Burdi throws a heavy fastball with a quick, compact arm action and struck out 5 hitters while only walking 1.

Burdi was relieved by RHP Mac Crawford (2013, Battleground Academy, IL) who threw the last 3 innings allowing only 1 hit and no runs.  Crawford also pitched in the 83-86 mph range with some deception to his delivery.

Longshots SS David Gerber (2013, Neuqua Valley HS, IL) has a rangy 6-2/170 build and nice actions at shortstop.  His footwork and positioning are advanced, he has soft hands and makes strong, accurate throws.

3B Joe Provanzano (2014, Downers Grove South HS, IL) went 2-2 with a double and drove in 2 runs to pace the Longshots offense.

The manual scorekeeping/note taking has been replaced by a digital iPad system developed by Gamechanger that allows the Perfect Game scouts and staff to do all the same work electronically. The iPad instantaneously transmit all the information not only to the PG data base but also make the box scores and other game information immediately available to parents and fans around the country.

I admit I was a bit of a skeptic about the system, even after I served as a test dummy on a cold Iowa spring day back in early April during the Iowa Spring League. After all, we have part-time scouts from all over the country in addition to our own growing staff and everyone would have to learn Gamechanger and learn to use it well and learn it quickly. And let’s face it, different people have different learning curves. Especially us older folk when given electronic gizmo’s better suited for our teenage kids. It was the first time I’d ever touched an iPad.

I even told some staff members “There’s no way that “John Doe,” one of our regular and valued, along with more “veteran,” summer scouts in Marietta, will ever learn this. He has trouble using the phone to call in games and I’m pretty sure he doesn’t even know how to text yet.”

Of course, I was completely wrong. “John Doe” already knew how to use Gamechanger as his high school used it during the spring and he was a master.

MIFs and Projectable Arms for FTB
10/7/2011 5:27:30 PM

FTB Mizuno Black beat All Star Baseball Academy Futures 10-3 as a number of their players showed themselves as top prospects.

SS Hunter Lee (2014, Winter Park HS, Matiland, FL) is a player who improves every time he is seen by PG scouts. He has grown and added muscle since the summer and continues to show his quick bat and game-breaking speed. He has very good range at SS with easy fielding actions and arm strength.

DP partner Edwin Bonilla (2013, Osceola HS, Port Orange, FL) is another undersized infielder with quick feet, clean hands and very good athleticism.

FTB Mizuno RHP Brad Zunica (2014, Lakewood Ranch, FL HS) topped at 84 and is a player with lots of potential and easy arm action on the mound. RHP Zack Gary (2013, Ridge Community HS, Davenport, FL) topped at 84 and RHP Jeffrey Passatino (2014, Bishop Verot HS, Fort Myers, FL) topped at 84 with very good control of his fastball and a 71 mph curveball.

Scout Blogs

But aside from the ease of use and the immediacy of information being available to the various levels of users, the biggest benefit I’ve seen from our use of Gamechanger is the Scout Blogs that are now done at every Perfect Game tournament and showcase, but especially the tournaments.

In fact, I’m writing this because I don’t think many of the scouts, coaches and parents realize how big these blogs have become and just how much valuable and unique information is in them.

In the “olden days (i.e. last year)”, we attempted to blog as much scouting information as possible, but that was cumbersome and slow with the old manual score sheets, especially for the summer WWBA age group championships.

With Gamechanger and the help of the design work of Perfect Game’s IT staff back in Cedar Rapids, we can literally, and often do, start blogging a game within a minute or two of it being completed.

NJ 9ers RHP Matt Pidich
10/8/2011 7:19:20 PM

NJ 9ers RHP Matt Pidich (2013, Christian Brothers Academy, Aberdeen, NJ) struck out ten in his six innings of work, running his fastball up to 88 while sitting at 85-87. He has long arm action with good arm speed, throwing on a solid downhill plane.

He threw a late breaking slider with tight rotation at 80 and 78 mph changeup that showed good potential.

SF Prospects Daniel Oliveri (2013, Flangan HS, Pembroke Pines, FL) stays inside the ball well with a short, compact swing with power potential. Kirvin Moesquit (2014, Highland Christian HS, Deerfield Beach, FL) is a very good athlete with a very projectable bat. He pitched Saturday, topping at 82 with clean, smooth arm action.

That leads to this situation, which I hope everyone can appreciate in its size and scope and in the sheer volume of information.

The recently completed WWBA World Underclass Championships in Fort Myers were held over 3 ½ days with 144 teams and over 300 games were played. The final blogs from the event were posted within minutes of the last game ending on Monday afternoon. Seven different Perfect Game staff members, not all of them even in Fort Myers at the time, wrote blogs at different points, with only one staff member having that as his primary responsibility.

The total amount written on the blogs for this one event totaled up to almost 39,000 words and if printed out (we do not recommend you doing this at home) would be 91 pages long.

Let me repeat that: The total amount written on the blogs for this one event totaled up to almost 39,000 words and if printed out would be 91 pages long.

For the average parent or fan, that’s really too much information. But for the hard working scout or college coach, that’s a treasure trove that’s been made available. And it’s available for every tournament. Just think of the huge amount of scouting information that will be available from Jupiter this week, when virtually every team will be loaded with prospects!

If you aren’t familiar with the way the blogs are being currently written and the type of information they include, we’ve dispersed a couple of typical blogs from the World Underclass into this story. If you like them, make sure to read all of them from Jupiter!

Scorpions Edge Long Island Storm in Key Matchup
10/9/2011 7:28:49 AM

The Orlando Scorpions Black edged the Long Island Storm2-1 in a game between two very talented teams, only one of which was going to earn a playoff berth.  Both teams brought out their better pitchers and 5 hurlers in the game threw in the upper 80’s.

3B Zach Krider (2013, Lake Brantley HS, FL) emerged as the offensive hero.  He hit a line drive double in the second inning to drive in DH Gunner O’Neill (2013, West Orange HS, FL), then ended up scoring on the back end of a double steal to post the Scorpions second run.

A list of the impressive pitching prospects in the game included:

RHP/C Patrick Stephens (2014, University HS, FL):  Threw 3 shutout innings for the Scorpions,striking out 4 hitters while topping out at 87 mph with good feel for his curveball.

OF/RHP Taylor Blatch (2013, Jensen Beach HS, FL):  Blatch got in some trouble with the strike zone but was 86-88 mph with a sharp biting 78 mph slider.

RHP/SS M.T. Minacci (2013, North Florida Christian HS,FL):  Minacci came in with the bases loaded and 1 out in the 7th inning and got out of the jam with a run scoring ground out and a strike out, pumping 88-89 mph fastballs.

LHP Anthony Kay (2013, Ward Melville HS, NY):  Kay is only 5-9 but has a big arm.  He was the losing pitcher for the Storm but struck out 7 hitters in 4 innings.  He has a deceptive delivery that hides the ball well and threw in the 84-88 mph with very good feel for a 76 mph change up and a big, slow 66 mph curveball.

RHP Ricardo Parra (2013, Monroe HS, NY):  Parra handcuffed the Scorpion hitters for 2 innings by elevating his live riding 85-88 mph fastball up in the strike zone.

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